Touch Not the Marble

original title “Ne touchez pas aux Marbres”

Yea, one may love a statue, so it be
    Some subtle dream of Phidias. Tall and still,
    From her bright self to man there may distil
An intimacy — for he comes, and she,
The goddess waits his coming secretly.
    And he forgetteth that her form is chill,
    That her white glances fascinate and kill,
Bound fast before her fair divinity.

She seems to smile, and he, grown bolder, cries:
     “Immortal one, a woman, then, art thou?”
        A fiery touch is on the marble wan;
Straightway it trembles; thunder shakes the skies, —
    Well knoweth all-indulgent Venus how
        A god's desire may flame the heart of man!